Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Day In My Paleo Life

Hello Lovelies,

Many of you have been asking me what my meals look like on an average week while leading the Paleo lifestyle, so I have decided to create a post to answer all of your juiciest questions.  As I have mentioned in previous posts I do not think this diet is easy, but it's also not impossible and if I can do it then you totally can!!.  I am often in the kitchen and have to have foods prepared ahead of time or I am shit outta luck, since I can't go to processed or grain. (That part is annoying).

Yesterday I got amazing news from my doctor that my deficiencies like my Anemia and Vitamin D deficiency are actually reversing for the first time in two years!  My reflux and Eczema has subsided dramatically and my hair is growing.  I really think yesterday was the best day of my life since getting diagnosed with Anemia and it's been a long time.  So now that I know all of my efforts are working and I must stay on it.  Prior to finding out this terrific news I was having mixed feelings about this diet and maintaining the balance of what is OK to eat.  I don't want to feel like eating a piece of organic bread (grains, sugar, starch, buckwheat, tapioca, sorghum) means I am being bad or cheating.  Since I am usually out of balance, having a diet where I have to find harmony through trial and error drives me mad, but the reversal of the Anemia has just put a big barrel of extra faith in my mind, my body and my soul.  This doesn't mean my Anemia or medical issues are out of the woods yet, but it does mean that something is working, and I am hoping by staying on this lifestyle, it will heal me enough that my levels will maintain if not get higher, rather then taking a nose dive backwards, like it was for the last two years.  I'm willing to keep on going because I am feeling so amazingly good now, and before I was utterly exhausted, riddled with stomach pains, I felt depleted.

Do I cheat?  I really hate that word.  So instead I will tell you that I like you am human, and perfection is not realistic.   I will NEVER eat gluten ever again,  and I haven't for almost 9 years.  But I have had a piece of GF bread and I have had a vegan gluten free cupcake since going Paleo.  There are in my eyes always exceptions to perfection.  And once in a blue moon is ok.

For those of you curious of the Paleo Diet or what it is…I will tell you it is also known as the Cave Man Diet, The Blueprint Diet.  It's how Cavemen ate back then.  They didn't have access to so many foods including processed, so we are to eat what they could eat that was readily available.  The foods eliminated on this diet include:  No grains (not even gluten free ones), No dairy, No soy (in any form), No white potatoes of any form, no added sugar in any form, no forms of alcohol even in cooking, no canola or vegetable oil, no legumes, no peanuts (because that is a legume), no sulfites, MSG or Carrageenan. And for my special case no corn and no bananas.

Many of you are probably thinking the way my family and friends did, OMG what are you going to eat?!  Eek!!  So i'll say at first this is the most frustrating lifestyle I have EVER tried.  In the beginning it makes PMS feel like a vacation.  There is, believe it or not a detox period from all these foods we are so used to having like sugar.  Sugar is in everything from yogurt to sauces to processed crackers to mustard to cake.  And you truly detox.  That detox is a nightmare.  I was frustrated and pissed off.  I consumed more nuts and seeds then anyone would ever need because i felt so deprived.  If I couldn't eat what I wanted then I would eat something I could at large quantities just to feel satisfied.  But as the detox wore off and I got used to this diet, my body recognized that I didn't need to eat large consumptions of random things.  That in reality I wasn't as hungry as I thought.  That's when this diet becomes effortless.  Give that time 2-3 weeks max.  Then it's smooth sailing.

So without further adieu-My Paleo menu…

Green smoothie and eggs.  I like to load my smoothies with everything-spinach, kale, avocado, cucumber, low sugar fruit, coconut milk, coconut water, bee pollen, chia seeds, sunflower or pumpkin, nut or seed butters, seed powders and raw cacao.  I like Superfoods (foods that have healing properties).  I really want to feel that energy, and I have replaced my daily cappuccino with a green smoothie!  I change it up every day to make them taste good.  Sometimes I use my own recipes and other times I check out other blogs for inspiration.  As for eggs I like to do the healthy version of Deviled eggs like adding homemade guacamole and Cilantro.  Or I just eat them hard boiled and whole, or I have an omelet.  It really depends how much time I have in the morning.  Some days I just grab the eggs and have them hours after my smoothie.  Breakfast is imperative on this lifestyle.  It sets the day.

I have two options here.  I used to treat lunch as dinner and I would eat some form of animal protein like steak, chicken, fish or turkey meatballs, or beef meatballs (meatballs I would make homemade and make enough for a few days) or Salmon, along with Cauliflower mash and a big side of veggies.  Or I would have a spinach salad with a form of animal protein, avocado, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes and any veggie that would intrigue me and then I would top it with olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper and that would be extremely satisfying.  Lately I have made the switch.  I no longer feel utterly deprived so I just have a salad for lunch.  Before I realized I was allergic to tree nuts, I would have a vegan lasagna with cashew cheese which was amazing, but that is out for me now.

A piece of fish, Steak, Turkey Meatballs, Beef Meatballs, Cauliflower Mash, Sweet Potatoes, veggies galore, lots of green veggies like broccoli, spinach, kale, dandelion greens, chard and any other green you can think of, Zucchini with Marinara sauce, sunny side up eggs with Marinara, and always a salad.  Sometimes a hamburger wrapped in lettuce with Portobello mushrooms.  Sometimes I turn my meatballs into a taco form and use a lettuce bed and stuff all the veggies and meat in it and eat it like a taco.  I also have the option to eat Sashimi.  (Since the rice at sushi restaurants is not gluten-free), eating sashimi is no different then before Paleo, instead of Soy sauce I use Coconut Aminos (similar taste to that of soy sauce, but is made from the coconut).

When dining out there are plenty of plain options.  A plain piece of fish or non marinated meat.  Veggies are a no brainer.  Dessert is off limits.  Since the daily maximum of low sugar fruit is two servings, and one servings is usually my smoothie, I pass on dessert.  That's where the frozen cucumbers come in.  But mostly you realize that it's your mind not your body that needs the dessert.

I usually have an apple or a pear.  Either raw or baked.  Both are delicious options.  Or if I am dehydrated I have a coconut water and treat that as my fruit.  I may have a few Goji berries, or some shredded coconut, some seed butter with veggies or the remainder of my smoothie I didn't finish, or if I haven't had a lot of natural sugars that day I'll have a date eclair, which is 1 date with coconut butter and sunflower seed butter on it.  That's usually a treat that I love.  If I am starving which is usually unlikely I eat more veggies.  My favorite is celery and frozen cucumber.  Frozen cucumber curves my sweet tooth and they really are so good.  Another snack I love is bacon sandwiched with avocado.  On the occasion I will eat raw cacao nibs, or chia seed pudding.  Or a green juice, which I personally have learned I do not like, but I can always make some form of a veggie smoothie without fruit.  For people that are not allergic to tree nuts, don't forget you have those options too.  I also love to make seed butter protein balls.  (recipe coming).

I think I am the only one that can sit in a pizzeria or watch all of my friends eating chocolate crepes and not feel deprived.  I instead reminisce in the smell and the look and I remember the taste.  I appreciate the art of dessert without indulging.  I credit that to the foodie in me.  My friends often feel bad and apologize, and I usually say "don't be silly!! Enjoy it, savor it, taste it".  Because through Paleo I have learned to taste and savor my food.  This I believe is something we all in this world forget to do.

That's my diet in an nutshell.  I don't miss grains.  And I don't miss the dairy, surprisingly (since I love cheese).  I do miss the sugar, and that is a constant battle.  There are weeks I could care less about the sugar, but then there are some days I just want it!  And will succumb by eating a piece of 70 percent organic dark raw chocolate.  When I have the flu or a cold I do use raw honey with bee pollen in my tea or a citrus fruit.  If i haven't had any fruit that day and no smoothie I may have a half of an orange or a grapefruit which actually is a low carb fruit.

Lately my body is craving greens which means, I am out of balance.  So this week my grocery list contains mostly green veggies.

It's much easier to listen to your body when all of the foods that inflame it have been eliminated.  It's easier to read.  It's easier to figure out what the problem may be.  

Overall, I am loving how my body is feeling.  I never would have thought this would be my answer.  I never thought that losing 65 percent of my hair could be repaired by changing my diet.  I never thought that having a leaky gut could be repaired by anything else then going gluten-free.  I never looked at food as medicine until I went back to school to learn Nutrition at the most awesome school there is!!! The Institute of Integrative Nutrition has changed my life.  And I would not be where I am now without this school.  I found my Integrative Functional Doctor through this school.  This school changed my mindset about food. And how food can either be your greatest victory or your biggest poison.

I did not start this diet to loose weight.  This diet which I consider a lifestyle is in my life at this time to repair the damage that the Celiac did to my intestinal lining that the gluten-free diet did not heal.  And it has been a hard two years of ups and downs, that I am so happy to see are slowly reversing.  And just in time for Summer!!

Enjoy!! xx Julie

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